Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center


Research at the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center focuses on providing the scientific understanding and technologies needed to support and implement sound management and conservation of our Nation's biological resources occurring in Hawai'i and other Pacific island locations.

Spotlight on Research

Spotlight on Research

Learn more about how researchers are tracking how rare plants are responding to changing environmental conditions.

Plant Responses

Featured Scientist

Featured Scientist

PIERC Microbiologist Dr. Carter Atkinson is using new tools to detect emerging threats and rare species in Pacific Island ecosystems.

Atkinson Research


Date published: June 8, 2018

Keeping Track of "Caly"

Caly isn't likely to wonder off off, but with a remote camera and monitoring station online 24-hours a day, USGS and partners at the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, University of Hawai‘i, and the USFWS can learn how an extremely rare plant is responding to changes in environmental conditions.

Date published: November 22, 2017

Sniffing Out Better Tools for Addressing Avian Botulism

Dogs have great olfactory abilities and wildlife biologists think they can help endangered waterbirds in Hawai‘i. Dogs are being trained to sniff out the endangered ducks (koloa maoli (Anas wyvilliana) and Laysan ducks (A. laysanensis)) that die of avian botulism. 

Date published: July 10, 2017

Hawaiian Birds Rapidly Colonize Young Restoration Forest

Forest birds on the island of Hawaii are responding positively to being restored in one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, according to a new study released July 10 in the journal Restoration Ecology.


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Year Published: 2019

Environmental gradients influence differences in leaf functional traits between native and non-native plants

Determining the characteristics of non-native plants that can successfully establish and spread is central to pressing questions in invasion ecology. Evidence suggests that some non-native species establish and spread in new environments because they possess characteristics (functional traits) that allow them to either successfully compete with...

Henn, Jonathan J; Yelenik, Stephanie G.; Damschen, Ellen Ingman

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Year Published: 2019

Screening and biosecurity for White-nose Fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Ascomycota: Pseudeurotiaceae) in Hawai‘i

Introduced pathogens causing emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are serious contemporary threats to animal, plant, and ecosystem health. The invasive fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, has established populations of European origin in North America, resulting in mass mortality of several hibernating bat species. Extensive monitoring for...

Zhelyazkova, Violeta; Toshkova, Nia; Dool, Serena E; Bonaccorso, Frank; Pinzari, Corinna A.; Montoya-Aiona, Kristina; Puechmaille, Sebastien J

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Year Published: 2019

Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) activity, diet and prey availability at the Waihou Mitigation Area, Maui

Habitat use, diet, prey availability, and foraging ecology of the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus, Vespertilionidae), was examined in the east Maui region inclusive of the Waihou Mitigation Area, Pu‘u Makua Restoration Area and the wind energy facility operated by Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC. The study was conducted to inform...

Pinzari, Corinna A.; Peck, Robert W; Zinn, Terry; Gross, Danielle; Montoya-Aiona, Kristina; Brinck, Kevin W.; Gorresen, Paulo Marcos; Bonaccorso, Frank J